Image courtesy of Pitch.com
In my previous post about McDonald’s and fast food chains outside the U.S., I touched upon how eating in a fast food eatery abroad is actually… respectable. Unlike in the U.S., where fast food chains are the last resort if there really is nothing else to eat, like when you’re on a road trip and the only place to eat during a pit stop in the middle of nowhere is a Burger King branch.
Last week at work, a coworker commented, “How come no one here eats fast food?,” to which another replied, “They do, they just don’t bring it in. I actually love McDonald’s!”
Many of us carry a certain denial about eating at fast food restaurants. Fast food chains in the U.S. has endlessly been criticized for their practices and the food they serve. Eating at a fast food restaurant not only creates guilt, but fear– horrifying images of obese, disorder-ridden images of oneself violates one’s thoughts as one pulls up at the drive thru, and after the meal, one vows to hit the gym as soon as possible to work it off.
Image courtesy of Tipid Meals
In other countries, it is actually preferred to sit down in a fast food restaurant and eat your whole meal there. Of course, the difference in dining preferences has to do a lot with the culture– the fast-paced U.S. culture obliges us to have quick meals to fit in our 30-minute lunches, while the culture in a country like the Philippines upholds being late and 1-2 hour lunches are the norm.
I thought dining in a fast food restaurant is only seen in developing countries, since anything Western is practically worshipped in these palces, but my European boyfriend confirms the same, that KFC is actually a decent place to eat, and food at McDonald’s and drinks at Starbucks are even more expensive than local fast food eateries.
Dining for here also has to do with economic aspects. In the States, fast food restaurants are considered dirt cheap, and since many people assign values on a product based on price, fast food restaurants are at the bottom of the barrel. In other countries, when prices of fast food are higher than some local restaurants, eating at fast food restaurants are special-event occasions. Birthday parties are celebrated there, as well as after-church lunches with the whole family.
The differences between cultures and dining practices at places as global as fast food restaurants are interesting, don’t you think?